LAND NAVIGATION & ENDURANCE COURSE
The ability to know where you are and how to get to where you need to be is elemental to any operational undertaking, civilian or military. In order to develop and ensure this capability in B-12 members, the company runs an event called the Land Navigation & Endurance Course during each Candidate Term. The course allows B-12 to assess and improve the land navigation skills and the motivation level of each candidate who wishes to join B-12 Pershing Rifles, and also provides a mechanism for B-12 member training.
Candidates first undergo instruction in the classroom, which covers the basic land navigation techniques taught in ROTC as well as more advanced methods which are nonetheless critical for effective navigating. They are then are brought to the course location where they are provided a course control sheet, a topographic map, a lensatic compass, and a protractor. They are then expected to navigate from point to point, using the land navigation skills they have learned in Candidate Term and ROTC training.
Each segment of each candidate’s route is pre-planned and timed, and B-12 course cadre are posted at specific locations in order to monitor the safety and accountability of all of the candidates while they are out on the course. The candidates are expected to operate on their own, but the course is structured to enable the cadre to quickly identify any major errors in each candidate’s technique. This setup permits cadre to correct those errors while still allowing candidates to gain the experience of having to perform individually.
Candidates generally come away from the course with an increased familiarity with being in the woods and using their land navigation skills in a practical setting. They also tend to develop a deeper understanding of their own ability to overcome a combination of intellectual adversity and physical fatigue in the field, while completing the simple, yet critical, task of moving from one location to another.
B-12 members use each iteration of the course as an opportunity to develop their abilities in operational planning and leadership, as well as tactical execution. Since the course is not quite as complicated to execute as OSL, it provides a perfect practice event for those members who are assigned the responsibilities of planning and running operations during each Candidate Term. Members who have already undergone these experiences are always on hand to oversee the operation and critique the performance of the planners.
The existence of the course also provides B-12 members themselves with a nearby training area, in which they can maintain and hone their own land navigation skills without having to wait for a scheduled ROTC event or depend on the availability of an Army training area. At the behest of the Boston University Army ROTC cadre, B-12 has also run the course as a supplemental land navigation training area for 3rd-year ROTC cadets who want or need additional land navigation training and practice.